Mill Creek Clinic
 
 

 

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McKenzie Rollins

McKenzie RollinsMcKenzie Rollins began riding at the age of five at the Stoneleigh- Burnham School in Greenfield, Massachusetts. She graduated from Stoneleigh where she was very active on her high school IEA team and Interscholastic Dressage Team. She then attended the University of Vermont, where she graduated with a BFA in Studio Arts and a Minor in Film Theory. She also studied Equine Management and Equine Training Techniques and rode on the Equestrian Team, which is also where she began her teaching career under the tutelage of Madeline Austin.

Upon graduation, McKenzie worked briefly in New York City in fashion and photography, yet still rode whenever possible and taught periodically at the Stoneleigh-Burnham School. She then found herself employed by The Ethel Walker School in 2007 and was very involved in many aspects of the Equestrian Program as an instructor, trainer, adviser to Middle School students, manager and instructor of the IEA team (which she brought to numerous National Championships) and manager/trainer of the Eventing program and The Summer Riding Experience.

In 2012 McKenzie moved to California to begin working at Mill Creek. She has many clients and horses in training, and works very hard to ensure that each horse and rider combination has a program tailored to their needs. Riding and teaching is something that keeps her interested and engaged from sun up to sun down every day. Horses have become a part of who she is and a part of how she identifies with the world around her.  She loves the work, not just the riding and thrives off of hard work and seeing small successes in each horse and in each rider. It is just her way of life! She firmly believes that a happy healthy horse will give you their best athletic self.

Currently she is competing at the CCI 1* level with Defender while she brings along her talented 5 year old Irish Sport Horse, Excel Star Lord, who is at the Novice level.

It is so rewarding when my students make a connection to what I am describing and are then able to execute that and have a positive outcome in a split second. For a horse to then feel successful and proud at it's job is so beautiful.The goal of every day is to have a student can come out of the ring with a smile on their face. When a horse is happy to see you, and nickers, and finds comfort in your company and care, it is just magical.These are all of the moments that make this the best job in the world.

Horseback riders are always teased with the line,"The rider is just sitting there while the horse does all of the work." This could not be further from the truth. It's just that great experienced riders make it look effortless, like a ballerina. Ballet requires the same amount of strength and fluidity as horseback riding. Riding is a language that is unseen and unspoken and in my opinion, it is such an art form! Because every day can pose different challenges with your horse, you have to be almost meditative in the approach of your practice and in your patience.The repetition and discipline of the exercises is what allows your mind to develop the mental execution of the aids (leg,hand,seat aids are what a rider uses to direct particular messages to the horse) and also lets your body develop the muscle memory of the physical execution of the aids. 

Personally, riding is very therapeutic. It keeps me grounded and honest with my emotions. I tell my students they are learning an invisible and unspoken language. Horses interpret everything at face value and constantly work off of first impressions. It requires a massive amount of concentration and is a delicate relationship of multitasking on numerous levels--mentally, physically, emotionally. Horses are incredibly sensitive creatures and every day can pose a different challenge. It requires us to be very present, very forgiving, and very understanding. When I am riding, I am constantly stimulated and I don't have the room in my brain to think about anything other than what is happening at that second.

 

 

1881 Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga, CA  90290 (310) 455-1116
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Owned by Dynasty Star LLC